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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  January 23, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST

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coast guard families adrift without paychecks during the shutdown, now turning to food pantries as the coast guard commandant speaks out. >> we're five plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay. ultimately i find it unacceptable that coast guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donations to get through day to day life as service members. inching closer as the senate gets ready for its first vote since the shutdown began. house democrats search for a compromise. millions more for border security but not the trump wall. >> if $5.7 billion is about border security, then we see ourselves fulfilling that request, only doing it by what i like to call using a smart wall. >> a> and security breach. democrats demand white house documents about security clearances that may have allowed
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michael flynn, jared kushner and others improper access to top secrets. >> even john kelly when he was chief of staff acknowledged there were problems with the security process. now house democrats want to air that dirty laundry, they want the documents and are prepared to issue a subpoena to get them. and good day, everyone, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. day 33 of the government shutdown. today both houses are gearing up for votes tomorrow that will likely fail but possibly clear the way for a short term bill to end the shutdown and launch real negotiations for a compromise that president trump would sign. president trump, though, standing firm so far, confident republicans will not waver, even as federal workers brace for two more weeks without pay. among the hardest hit, thousands of government contractors including security officers and cleaning staff who will never get their back pay to recover from the shutdown crisis. joining me now, nbc white house
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correspondent kristen welker, nbc capitol hill correspondent kasie hunt, nbc political analyst peter baker, and nbc's ali vitali, after speaking with struggling federal contractors. kristen walker, the president is proceeding as though he has a firm coalition in the senate, so far he has. but there's a lot of talk around the edges that after these test votes tomorrow there might be talk of a real compromise. >> well, that's right. i've been talking to white house officials throughout the morning basically asking them what is going to happen if these two test votes do in fact fail, which is what is expected. one top official tells me, look, ask nancy pelosi. they're really putting the onus, at least at this point, on democrats to come to the table with a potential compromise, which i know kasie will delve more deeply into. the white house says we're very
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clear on what we want, funding for the border wall specifically. and so far these proposals don't use that language. andrea, having said that, the white house is not committing to vetoing specific legislation. that's yet another sign that they are looking for trying to find a way out of this. president trump, for his part, tweeting earlier today a new slogan, tweeting "build a wall and crime will fall." this is the new theme for two years until the wall is finished under construction now of the republican party, use it and pray. so he is essentially trying to turn up the heat on democrats with that rhetorical flourish. the question is, andrea, how and when will this all come to an end. there's still not a clear end in sight. of course the political pressure is mounting on all sides, particularly on the parking lre with polls showing that more people are holding him responsible for this government shutdown which is impacting hundreds of thousands of workers.
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for his part, the president has a number of meetings today, one on health care, then a little bit later he'll be meeting with conservative leaders, not meeting with democrats, though, andrea. so it doesn't seem as though an end to this is imminent, at least right now. >> kasie hunt, there's one report in politico that there is new pressure on nancy pelosi to come up with something, certainly the pressure coming from some sort of middle of the road democrats, especially those who represent large numbers of federal workers. we heard from benny thompson, we heard from jim cliburn, there might be some kind of counteroffer. what are you hearing? >> there has been an increase in the pain level, it seems, andrea. frankly the mood up here seems to have shifted a little bit in the last couple of days, where it's pretty clear that there is now a more advanced scramble on to try to get out of this. what felt like a stalemate that was immovable now seems to be cracking. now, that doesn't mean that we have a clear way out of this.
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what we do know, leanne caldwell and hai have been reporting thi this morning, the democrats have been preparing a counteroffer to the president. what they say, our sources tell us, there wouldn't be any money for the wall in there but there would be border security money that would meet or exceed the president's $5.7 billion demand. so this could be a pretty classic move by the house speaker nancy pelosi, who is just walking right by here. madam speaker, your counterproposal -- she obviously, like paul ryan who has walked by this camera many time when we've been on the air, andrea, not saying anything about this counterproposal. but that would be a classic move from nancy pelosi, helping to inoculate the charge that democrats don't care about border security by potentially going beyond what the president has said he wants to do in terms of asking for this money, while at the same time holding fast on what they have described as a
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moral problem, they do the not to give the president his wall. i spoke briefly with the majority leader steny hoyer, i asked him is there any world in which the house would take up the senate's proposal coming to the floor of the senate on thursday, knowing that's incredibly unlikely that would ever pass. he actually left the door more open than i expected that he might, which i took as another sign that it's very clear the pressure is racheting up here on capitol hill, which hopefully in the long run is ultimately going to be good news for those federal workers who have had such a tough time. >> and some of those federal workers in fact, kasie, are not far from you in the hart office building, gathering now in the atrium of that building, in a protest. we've seen other protests in that room. so far that area in the hart building looks like a very calm, peaceful protest with some signs. but those are federal workers or those representing them. peter baker, you wrote today about the white house inactivity
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has the president held hostage. this is partly not doing public events during the shutdown, all agencies are told not to, and there's been certainly a very limited white house schedule, but it's also that he is politically held hostage by this continuing showdown. >> yes, it's rather remarkable. we're one month already into the new year and the only issue basically that has been on the president's plate is this single dispute over the border wall. that doesn't mean he hasn't been doing some other things. he did meet with the north korean envoy the other day and is trying to work out a summit meeting next month with the north korean leader kim jong-un. his negotiators are trying to work on brokering a trade deal with china. but by and large you are seeing a president focused seemingly on one issue. it's become what his administration officials call a one-issue without at this point. >> and peter, his approval ratings, at least in the new cbs
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poll, is down a bit. republicans are taking a hit here and the economy is also becoming a larger issue, the imf leader christine lagarde in davos saying there are global problems stemming not just from the trade policies but also from the government shutdown, and a slowdown in china. >> yeah, exactly. there's talk out of the white house that growth in the first quarter could be down to zero percent, which of course would be a dig disappoint for the president. and you're right, his poll numbers have sunk a little bit since this began. the white house is gambling all of that will be forgotten if they come out of this with a win, that what matters in the long run is he is seen as fulfilling his campaign promises, none of which is more memorable or higher profile than the wall. if he gets that, then a year from now, two years from now, when we're heading to the polls for his reelection, nobody will care as much about how long the shutdown lasted.
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their view is the economy should bounce back once the government starts again. but it's a big gamble. >> in the normal cycle of economic recoveries, they're due for a recession in the next year or two and it could be right around election time that the economy could really be slowing down normally, even without this as an actual drag on the economy, an artificial or self-imposed drag on the economy. ali vitali in lower manhattan, where there are federal contractors who will not get congressional pay recovery, let's say, at the end of the shutdown. >> yeah, andrea, and that's a really important point i want to make. furloughed workers will get back pay, but as it stands right now, federal contractors who are not working and not getting paychecks will basically have lost this month and however long
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this shutdown goes on. one worker who works behind me in a branch of the smithsonian museum, her 19-year-old daughter is a freshman in college, she's not going to go to college this semester because she's going to take time off to get a part-time job to help her mom pay bills. we talked to her about the impact on her life. >> the little amount of savings goes to bills. after the savings, we're going to zilch. so it's like, i feel like i'm, you know, back in, you know, ten years ago, when i was struggling, my kids were younger, and, you know, having to live check to check, you know. and now it's come to reality, the reality that i'm going to have to, you know, live by unemployment checks. >> you pulled yourself up by your bootstraps once. >> once. i can do it again. i've struggled.
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i know what it is. but do i want to do it again? no. i worked too hard to get to where i'm at. i feel like i'm going backwards instead of moving forward and succeeding and doing well for my family. >> so andrea, obviously a really deep personal impact. but then i also want to bring you out to the larger impact. federal contractors are losing, according to an estimate from bloomberg, about $200 million a day. that's over $6 billion at this point. think about what trump is asking for for his wall, $5.6 billion. contractors have lost as much or more than trump even wants to build this wall in the first place, andrea. >> a lot of these contractors are localwly paid, cooks, clean people, that keep these buildings going and feed and support our federal employees and they do not get their back pay. just think of this woman who you
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spoke with, and how she feels after having worked so hard, to have her college student having to take a semester off. that's heartbreaking in a profound way. kristen welker and kasie hunt, you're at the fulcrum of this on your two beats. how does that impress the people at the heart of this stand justify? kristen, the president wants to give his state of the union, they say he will, he'll give a speech, if it has to be in the east room. nancy pelosi has not said you cannot come, she has just said it would not be appropriate if the shutdown continues. is there going to be a big speech, if this shutdown is still in play? >> andrea, it seems like it's full steam ahead to have a state of the union address next tuesday. the question is will it in fact take place at the capitol. the white house signaling at this point in time they have no reason to think it won't. at the same time we know there are contingency plans, that
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officials here, for example, are preparing different passages in case president trump has to deliver that speech outside of washington, d.c. and andrea, to that first important point that you make, how are those real life stories impacting the president, how are they impacting the white house? i have put that question to the president himself, to officials here. and the response is that they go back to what they describe as the pain that is caused by a lack of border security. they go back to angel parents who have lost loved ones, to those who they say have come here and are undocumented. so that is their response to all of these stories that we are seeing unfold, frankly all across the country, people really struggling to make ends meet, really suffering amidst this government shutdown. again, they continue to go back to that key campaign promise by the president that border security essentially trumps all, andrea. >> and of course, kasie hunt,
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the democrats are saying that they believe in border security, they're putting up billions for border security. tim kaine, sherrod brown, a couple of others are saying, let's have the experts come to us and tell us exactly in a real negotiation, let's have real testimony about what they need, let's mark up a bill on the senate side and let's hear from them as to what would really -- what a wall would do versus what a wall would not do. >> that's really the heart of this, andrea, because the reality is that democrats have in the past voted for the equivalent of a wall, they voted for physical barriers along the border. but of course they've done it in the context of exchanges for other areas of policy that they felt were going to improve overall the immigration system. that's typically how compromise has worked in the capitol. as you know, this issue has just been incredibly fraught now for years, well before the president if anything capitalized on this
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reality in his campaign, it's not as though he created this as a wedge issue. i do think there are democrats who would be willing to vote for something like that. the problem is we're heading into a presidential year, democrats have just taken back the house. the pressure among democrats is to oppose the president. and what embodies this president more than this idea of a wall on the southern border? and that's why you have heard the language that has come from nancy pelosi, for example, calling this immoral, right? these constructs, they're not about, okay, do we put a fence over there and a barbed wire over there. no, is it right, is it wrong, does it make a statement about who we are as a country. as long as this is the framework of the negotiation, i think we're going to go nowhere, and that's why it's going to be so hard to break out of it. the sense has been that the
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white house simply wasn't going to give in at all, so obviously there was no incentive on the flip side for democrats to do that. but to answer your earlier question, andrea, i do think that the predicaments of these people, they do matter, and the pictures are getting harder and harder, the stories are getting more and more difficult. and, you know, it should force our elected leaders to do something, andrea. >> and peter, finally, there's the issue that democrats claim if they let the president have his way on wall funding now, he will believe that he can shut down the government over any issue that is important to him. >> well, that's right. we're going to have a debt ceiling deadline come up in the spring. we'll have another fiscal year end at the end of september. you see both sides in effect have drawn such a strong line in the sand, each side believes if they give up they have set a terrible precedent for the next two years, and the president
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feels the same way. nobody wants to be the first to cave because they feel like it will set a bad pattern for the next two years. but that leaves both sides then stuck in this impasse. >> peter baker, ali havevitali, kristen welker, kasie hunt, thank you all. coming up, they're going to jared. house democrats launching an investigation into the security clearance process with a spotlight on the president's son-in-law, jared kushner. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. nly on mc ♪ [friend] i've never seen that before. ♪ ♪ i have... ♪ i have...
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and we have breaking news from capitol hill. the democratic chair of the house oversight committee, elijah cummings, is launching a wide ranging investigation into the white house security promises for what cummings calls grave breaches of national security at the highest levels of the trump administration. last february nbc news found over 130 white house officials and trump appointees have been operating without full security clearances at the time, including the president's son-in-law and senior adviser jared kushner. despite having access to highly classified information. joining me now is msnbc political analyst phillip rucker, "washington post" white house bureau chief, and ken dilanian, nbc news intelligence and national security reporter. ken, let's talk about this investigation. this is one of the first evidences of the change, the democrats are in charge and they're going to start these investigations. this one goes to the heart of
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the security clearance process. >> it does. and it's a very shrewd move by cummings. it was something the republicans were interested in as well, they launched an investigation when they were involved and really got nowhere. and john kelly, when he was chief of staff, acknowledged there were problems with the security clearance process. there were real questions about jared kushner. recall that it was reported that his security clearance was downgraded because he didn't fill out his financial disclosures. then it was reported he had a complete security clearance. later "the washington post" said yes, but it wasn't top secret material. kushner is a subject of the mueller inquiry and people are asking, how can he have a full security clearance when he's the subject of a special counsel investigation? >> so this is one aspect of going to the heart of it. there's another letter that has just come out from cummings, writing about the nra and
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potential issues between john bolton before he joined the administration, nra, nra fundraising, russia, maria butina. this gets into a whole other -- >> it sure does. and a potential link with the russia investigation. john bolton was an nra official, he was on a committee. he appeared in a video roundtable with maria butina, this russian national who has been charged as acting as unregistered foreign agent for russia. there are real questions about her role at the nra. she was an nra member. people want to know how john bolton got a security clearance when he had contact with this russian national. democrats want to know how these decisions were made. >> phil rucker, you can see a letter from donald trump to nancy pelosi saying he looks forward to seeing her at the regular venue at the state of
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the union next week, "thank you for your letter," et cetera, "regarding the shutdown sent to me not long after the shutdown began inviting me to address the nation. as you know, i had already accepted your kind invitation," this after there was a comment from the pelosi team yesterday that he had not sent a written acceptance, but said it verbally. "however i then received another letter from you dated january 16th wherein you expressed concerns about security. i was contacted by the department of homeland security and u.s. secret service to explain that there would be absolutely no problem with regard to security with respect to the event." he then goes on to say, "accordingly there are no security concerns therefore i will be honoring your invitation and fulfilling my constitutional dispute to deliver important information to the people and congress of the united states of america regarding the state of the union." he looks forward to seeing her january 29th in the chamber of
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the house of representatives. it would be so very sad for our country if the state of the union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location, exclamation point. phil, it does seem as though he wrote this himself. from the punctuation, if nothing else. >> yes, it's a bold move by president trump. he's effectively calling pelosi's bluff and saying, look, i am able to give this speech, there are no security concerns according to the people that provide security to me at my events, and he wants to deliver the speech in the house chamber. and it now falls to pelosi, if she wants to stop this, i believe she has the authority to do so simply because she controls the activity on the floor of the house of representatives as the speaker. but i don't actually know the nitty-gritty of the rules about how this works, and it certainly sort of ups the ante there from last week, what we all reported on as the disinvitation from
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pelosi to trump. and this is kristen welker rejoins us from the who us. countri white house. kristen, they had fallback positions but now they're really calling nancy pelosi's bluff, now she would have to affirmatively say don't come. and she controls the floor, she controls the venue, that's under her purview. >> that's absolutely right. the president is essentially saying, look, you invited me to speak and we are going to honor that initial invitation that you sent out. not altogether a surprise, andrea, because remember, he had tweeted several days ago "a contract is a contract." and yesterday, all signs pointed to the fact that he was in fact determined to deliver the state of the union address next tuesday at the capitol as was originally planned. so he is calling house speaker nancy pelosi's bluff to some exte
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extent. and the house says they've checked with the relevant people and there are no security concerns. so we await nancy pelosi's response. this is a president who is a former reality tv star. he understands the power of optics. when it comes to optics for the white house, for a president of the united states, it doesn't get much bigger than the state of the union address. this is a chance every year, of course, for the president to address not only a joint session of congress but of course the american people. now, will the shutdown be finished by the time he addresses the american public? that's the big question, because the optics are going to be incredible tricky if this shutdown is still in place and the president speaks to the american people next tuesday, andrea. >> and phil, you know, the stakes here are escalated by the fact that there were just the beginnings of some sort of compromise, there was pressure on nancy pelosi and the democratic leadership to come up with a way around this counteroffer.
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they were beginning to outline that today. there was the possibility that maybe they would have these two votes tomorrow, both votes would fail, then they would go to the negotiations for the first time to really talk about what could be a wall without calling it a wall and how they could both sides claim victory, a short term continuing resolution, and then a real negotiation. but this seems to be escalating the pressure, this letter from the president to nancy pelosi, just when they might have been starting to edge toward negotiations. >> yeah, and the personal dynamic here between nancy pelosi and donald trump, the two leaders of the two parties and of the two, you know, respected bodies of government, is important here. they're not talking right now. they're not in what you would call good negotiations at the moment. there's just been bad blood over the last week beginning with nancy pelosi's letter effectively saying, let's table the state of the union until after the government reopens.
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and then remember, trump effectively halted pelosi's secret trip to afghanistan. she was going to be making a trip to the war zone as well as to brussels this past weekend and the president, you know, did not allow her to use military aircraft for that trip. and so there is a tremendous amount of bad blood between the leaders even as others are trying to, you know, inch towards some sort of a compromise. one is not necessarily in the offing right now. >> kristen walker, there's been an issue, even before she was speaker, when she was democratic leader, of resentment of the way donald trump was mansplaining, if you want to dig into that for a moment. >> well, and we saw that on full display during that remarkable oval office meeting, the last time we really saw all of these leaders gathered together, when president trump said to the newly-installed house speaker, i know you have a problem speaking out right now because that vote,
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that final vote hasn't been taken and her speakership hadn't been made official. it was in that moment that we really saw her push back very firmly against exactly what you are describing. and she talked about the fact that she was poised to take control of the house. and so that has been a tension certainly at the backdrop here. she's been asked about it by savannah guthrie, how will president trump in fact be able to work with her, is he used to dealing with women who are in such positions of power. nancy pelosi responding, we'll have to see. so this has been looming large over this relationship. but of course there are a number of other tensions. and as phil was just mapping out, they really seem to be reaching a fever pitch at this point in time, andrea. >> joining us now for reaction as well, kristen, if you don't mind, and phil, standing by for a moment, we have democratic
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congressman jimmy panetta, who represents parts of santa clara county in california. we have a lot to talk to you about today, one of the big pieces of legislation that you are sponsoring that overwhelmingly passed the house overnight. first, we have this letter from the president to nancy pelosi that was just sent, basically saying, and you'll recognize the signature here, basically saying, i'll be there, and so happy you invited me, and you invited me even before the shutdown and my people don't say there's any security issues. he's basically daring her to disinvite him because of the propriety or whatever, the politics of having him there addressing the nation from her venue. what should she do now? >> first of all, thank you for having me on the show. >> a pleasure. >> second of all, this is just dialing up the rhetoric. based on my discussions with my constituents at home on the central coast, also i'll include
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santa cruz county, this is not what people sent me here to be a part of. people sent me here to be a part of legislation and be trying to solve problems, not create chaos, not create problems. unfortunately, right now all they're seeing is this, letters like this, jabs, tit for tats, speaking, not speaking, going on a codel, not going on a codel. that's very unfortunate because right now all of us look bad and all of us need to come to the table and be able to trying to figure this out. we need to open up this government and then start negotiating. enough of this. enough of this. now it's time to start legislating. it takes time, and because it takes time, we have to open up the government. >> to that point there was according to jim cliburn and others who we spoke to on the hill today, our team up there, that there was the outlines of a possible compromise where these big votes would go down tomorrow, house and senate, and people would come together on a short term continuing
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resolution, which is always what's been done, with a guarantee that the president will get a markup in committee on the senate side on his bill for a wall with more border security, there's money for it, clearly, this is not a fiscal issue, this is a political issue. does that get sabotaged by this letter dialing up the personal animosity or should nancy pelosi just say, let whoever does whatever, and let's get back to the basics of negotiating a compromise. >> sure, look, i think what we've seen is that you have to rise above these types of letters. what we know is that you can't out-trump trump. we know that, we've seen that. and therefore i would hope that leadership, democrat and republican leadership, house and senate, be able to rise above this and actually get things done. this type of negotiation can be very complex. when you're dealing with border security, when you're dealing with immigration reform, it is
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very complicated. and therefore it takes time. and so i would love to see a cr to open up the government and then allow congress to actually come to the table with each of their proposals. we're hearing a new proposal now that representative allard has worked over the weekend on that they're going to present. i look forward to seeing that. >> what if it doesn't include money for the wall? should they give in and give him going to be called a wall just to get past this? >> look, i think that you have to have first steps. they presented their first step in the senate, the senate bill, mitch mcconnell's bill that they're going to vote on tomorrow. now it's time for us to put our position forward. does it deal with border security? how does it deal with border security? does it deal with dreamers? is it just for daca recipients or the entire dreamers? is it for three years renewable status or a pathway to legal
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residence? tps recipients as well. what's out there? we need to put something forward. i'm glad to hear what our leadership is doing, you need to be able to do that, have these first salvos, then come to the table and talk about it. enough with the letters, enough with the going back and forth. come to the table and start talking about policy, not politics at this point. >> if the shutdown is still on, should the speaker invite him and permit him, she has the final say, to give the state of the union from the house chamber? >> that's exactly it, it's going to be up to the speaker. at this point i don't think it's going to happen during a shutdown. >> i want to ask you about the resolution, help me here, whether this will be binding. it passed the house overwhelmingly. you had republican votes. there is a similar bill in the senate to deny any president the ability to get out of nato. and this is an extraordinarily unprecedented piece of legislation, prompted by the fact that we have credible reporting, i have it from people who were in the room when he threatened to get out of nato at
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the last nato summit, he's spoken of it since. now you have general mattis resign. what prompted you, you're an afghan war veteran as well, which is partly a nato coalition enterprise. >> that's correct. and based on my time over there, i saw firsthand on the battlefield the importance of having our nato allies there. they've been with us for 70 years. we've been with them for seven decades. that relationship needs to continue, not only because of what has happened, basically, meeting our goals of why nato was created, but also what it will continue to do, be it with the fight against terrorism, be it with pushing back on russian aggression. let me tell you, it was so interesting, on the floor yesterday, as this vote was going down, i was so surprised at the number of members that came up to me, both republican and democrat, who said, i can't believe that we have to do this. but this is what we have to do, and i'm voting for your bill. >> now, what's going to happen next? is there a way that this can be binding on the president? >> well, the senate is going to take it up.
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they have their version, as you said. our version prevents any funding for any sort of withdrawal from nato. they have their version that says it has to be two-thirds vote from the senate. it will be combined and hopefully they vote on it, hopefully they do the right thing and pass it and it's going to be put in front of the president and hopefully the president, as he said the other day that we're 100% with nato, if so, sign my bill. >> now, you've got obviously a famous name, obviously, for our viewers, you are the son of leon and sylvia panetta. >> you can recognize me by the nose. >> former cia director, former white house chief of staff, and other issues. but you're here on your own. >> correct. >> you've got this bill passed, congratulations. >> thank you very much. >> great to see you. >> good to see you, thank you. kasie hunt on the hill, what about the reaction from pelosi and -- speaker pelosi and the leadership to this letter from the president? >> andrea, we're still waiting on a formal reaction. i'm told we will be the first to receive it when in fact the
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speaker decides to get back to the president on had letter. but as you rightfully point out, the simple reality of this situation is that nancy pelosi is the speaker of the house and she controls the floor of the house of representatives. and not just anybody is even allowed to walk out onto the floor let alone give an enormous nationally televised address that is a moment for the country. so the president seems to be insisting that he's just going to show up. but the reality is, he would be barred from walking onto the house floor. there are some other steps in there, both the house and the senate pass a resolution, typically, to set the stage for the state of the union, for the joint session of the congress. it's a pretty rare event. so the president's letter is written as though he can just do what he wants when, you know, the reality of the situation, that is simply not the case. >> kasie hunt, we're going to
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news on the shutdown showdown which has turned into a state of the union showdown, joining me now is msnbc political analyst elise jordan, former white house aide, and margaret carlson, columnist for the daily beast. back with us, nbc's kristen welker and kasie hunt standing by as this develops. elise jordan, you worked in the white house, you worked for the nsc, in the republican white house, as you prepared for a state of the union. have you ever seen anything like this, the letter, the invitation, the back and forth over this while hundreds of thousands of workers are waiting for their pay and contractors are not even going to get their pay? >> andrea, this entire exercise has been so bizarre to watch it play out. you know, going back to the beginning of the year, there was conventional wisdom that by the time of the state of the union, the shutdown would be over. now the state of the union is back on. this is a long tradition, pretty
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much since the early turn of the century, woodrow wilson onward, there has always been a state of the union every year. you look at the one year there wasn't, and that was ronald reagan had to delay his state of the union because of the challenger tragedy. and it's such an important exercise for any administration to assess their priorities, because, shockingly, sometimes policy doesn't really start to come together until a big public moment and a bunch of separate government entities are forced to work together and hammer out the facts that undergird all of the policies. so i do think this is an important exercise for any administration, as boring as the state of the union can be, it actually serves an important purpose in the functioning of government. and of course there's nothing in the constitution that requires it, it can be by letter, the venue doesn't matter, but the tradition has been the house of representatives, which is controlled by the speaker.
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margaret carlson, it's noteworthy in this letter, which is classic trump with the exclamation points, he says in the last sentence, delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location, exclamation point, as though it's a stage set, which it is. and the fact is that we can understand politically the speaker wanting to deny him the platform, because no democratic response or opposition party response has ever succeeded. >> no. in fact they can kill careers, those responses. >> just think of marco rubio and the water bottle and all the rest. so the fact is that he wants the stage, because he knows he can dominate. he can deliver a speech, that's what he does very well, at least he thinks. and by all reports he does. >> he now wants that speech in that house as much as he wants to win the showdown. this is a preliminary bout. he has to win it. because trump has to be seen as a winner in his own mind or it's
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debilitating for him. so i think he will win this one. and it may turn out to be -- >> even if the shutdown still continues? >> even if -- i mean, it could be a fight that nancy pelosi shouldn't have picked, because she was winning. and this muddies the waters a bit, if you ask me. and that letter was spell-checked with all those exclamation points because he's dead serious. and probably there aren't -- and she gave a reason which a lawyer would never do, of security concerns, which can be batted away by showing that there are none. so i think this is another standoff that we're in the middle of. and this is kind of a pettier one than the actual shutdown. >> and in fact, kasie hunt, when we were just talking to congressman panetta, he and other democrats are now saying to their leaders, you know, enough already, my constituents want this government reopened,
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and he was signaling that there needs to be some compromise here. >> i think that that is something that is starting to percolate among democrats but also among republicans. i think the pressure is starting to build. and we have gone through this story day after day after day kind of wondering when this point was finally going to hit, because those political incentives, they simply weren't lined up. nobody had an incentive to give or to find a way out of this. i think that quite frankly, the pain of it, both direct and personal with individuals who are struggling to, you know, feed their families, to make their rent payments, and also in the aggregate, you know, the impacts on the economy, the impacts on the image of the united states around the world, other things like that, are putting the pressure here in the capitol. and that's coming in part from, as you point out, some democrats who want their leaders to potentially negotiate here.
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but i do think you hit it, from the state of the union, nancy pelosi knows that the easiest way to get under donald trump's skin is to deny him his stage, which i think is what you've seen go on here. >> and right across the capitol grounds there, there is a silent protest of furloughed workers in the hart building. kelly o'donnell is there. kelly, you have access, these workers are silently holding up signs, unlike some of the more active protests we saw during some of the kavanaugh hearings in the same location, this seems to be effective in gathering a large ground behind you. >> there is a large crowd here. and we expect it to work in phases. i talked to some of the organizers here, these are public service sector union members who have come together, and people supporting them. they wanted to have 33 minutes of quiet to represent each of the days of the government shutdown. and you might see over my
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shoulder a number of people are holding up paper plates with various written messages, paper plates to signify they're going without their basic -- now the chanting is beginning, which is the second phase, but paper plates to signal they need their paychecks for the basic things of feeding their families and protecting themselves from this economic hardship. this phase that is just beginning now, so we're well-timed here, is what they told me would be a chanting phase, where they knew that u.s. capitol police would at some point be obligated to clear this space. some of these protesters intend to make their way to offices of lawmakers, namely mitch mcconnell, the senate majority leader, and others. we went for a long time here with almost pin-drop quiet. now they're shifting to this new phase. we'll give you a sense of how it's playing out here, both members of the public, members of these unions. lots of media here. a strong presence of u.s. capitol police who are
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well-accustomed to these sort of expressions of first amendment rights, where these workers are saying they want to get back to work, andrea. >> kelly, a lot of these people, some may be some are from other agencies, obviously. but when we talk about it, we've been focusing as well on public service contractors, security officers, people who cook, who clean, who do very lowly paying jobs, who have been without pay for a month, and are not going to get their pay back. always, as you know better than i, the congress votes after the government reopens, people getting back pay. that the' not a good deal. they get paid, but the contractors don't. >> exactly, contractors go without pay. in this particular shutdown, the legislative branch has been covered so a lot of people who work on capitol hill are getting paid and are coming to work.
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these unions represent a lot of different service entities in the public space, public sector workers who are not getting paid now and are furloughed. and so they are frustrated by missing a second paycheck. in many instances you have people who in some cases have both spouses who are on the federal payroll, therefore not being paid. this is the kind of expression of people who are accustomed to the security of a federal paycheck, expressing their voices that this has gone on so long, and that it's having a real impact on their lives. for those who will get retroactively paid, that does not account for late fees on credit cards or frustrations and disagreements with landlords. all the array of things that are part of the in the moment kind of situation. so, these protesters are expected to disperse, to continue making their voices heard around the capital complex. andrea? >> kelly o'donnell on the scene. as always, thank you so much.
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elise jordan, kasie hunt, kristen welker. thanks to all of you. and we'll be right back. coming up next, cast away. the head of the coast guard slamming the government shutdown as his members continue to patrol waters without pay. you're watching andrea mitchell reports, only on msnbc. your brain changes as you get older. but prevagen helps your brain with an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
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♪ and if you feel, like i feel baby then come on, ♪ ♪ oh come on ♪ let's get it on applebee's. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood.
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we're five plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this
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government lapse and your nonpay. you as members of the armed forces should not be expected to shoulder this burden. ultimately i find it unacceptable that coast guard men and women have to rely on food pantries and donation s to get through day to day life as service members. >> unacceptable, that's what the commandant is calling the hardships they are experiencing because of the shutdown. joining me now is julia ainsley, national security and justice reporter. julia, it's really hard to believe that we expect these people to respond to emergencies, to patrol the borders. they are part of our national security. they are part of border patrol and drug interdiction and they're not exempted as being essential. >> that's the case admiral schultz is making in this video, which is unusual. we haven't seen other people from the armed forces or d.h.s. which has a similar mission come forward. his message to his workers, he
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doesn't explicitly name trump, he said this shutdown is unacceptable. it's a morale booster. it reminds everybody of what the coast guard does, which is not just patrolling the waters. they also patrol guantanamo bay, a major security, they interdict cocaine. cocaine is the biggest threat they pick up. a lot of people could forget all of those operations. that's really when the president says when he wants more border security. that's who is suffering, the people on that mission. >> the fact is the president did bring back state department funding last week because there was a lot of impact around the world at our embassies, but not this. so this funding could have been brought back. they could have found money for the coast guard and they didn't. >> so could hud. so could some pieces of food stamps. you could start picking of all the things that need to come back and it would just be playing favorites. essentially what they need is a
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reopening of the government in order to fund this crucial mission. and i would say, too, some of the most sophisticated smuggling organizations, woegt human smuggling and drug trafficking, know how to get through in the water. there are submarines that can come up the west coast carrying drugs. these are the sophisticated criminal organization the president talks about in his speech and those are the people who are now supposed to be patrolled by unpaid workers by the coast guard. >> kathy park, one of our correspondents, interviewed amber broadway in cape cod at one of the coast guard stations about the real personal impact on that family. >> we have had a couple of family members that have reached out and said, if you guys absolutely need it, please take this. if you absolutely need it, please let us know. we don't want you and the boys to go without anything. i think that's really great. but my family doesn't work hard to support the fact that my husband is not being paid. it makes me sad to have to
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accept help from family for something that we really truly don't have any control over. >> that's just one person's story. multiply that by all of the numbers of people and the coast guard and their families. >> that's true. i mean, like we said at guantanamo, i was at guantanamo bay in november. those are people who are away from their families. we don't think about the coast guard deploying. that is a mission they're deployed and their family isn't getting anything. we're hearing this across the federal gofr federal government. it is important to remember they are part of the armed force ands they aren't getting salary. it is important the family speaks out when they can't do that. >> julia ainsley, thank you so much for all of your reporting. that does it for this edition of andrea mitchell reports. tonight since announcing her 2020 run, senator kamala harris joins rachel maddow live for a one on one interview. that is not to be missed. watch rachel maddow tonight at
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9:00 p.m. eastern, excuse me. and remember to follow our show tomorrow and every day, every week day online, on facebook and on at which timer at mitchell reports. and here is chris jansing in for "velshi & ruhle." >> i am chris jansing. they will join us from davos in switzerland. it's january 23rd. let's get smarter. president trump does seem determined to give his state of the union address despite house speaker nancy pelosi urging him to delay it. and as the senate ask poised to vote on competing bills to end the stalemate, there is still no clear end in sight. >> whether he does that from the halls of congress or whether he does that in another location, the president will talk to the american people on january 29th. >> does the president see the images of federal workers standing in line at food pantries? >> certainly, and nobody wants to see that happen, which is why the president put forward a


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